I’ve hit menopause. That’s the only thing I can say about it. The hot flashes are no longer every now and then, but one long, never ending, incessant nuisance that won’t go away. I’m always exhausted, and I want to yell and scream at everyone I meet.
In other words, I hate myself.
And being bipolar, that makes like a little more intolerable than it would for most women. You see, with being bipolar 1, I already deal with extreme moodiness when I become manic, so adding extreme moodiness that comes with the lack of estrogen in my body, well, that’s a whole different story.
I literally was starting to live in fear of myself and what I was becoming. I smelled horrible. My skin and hair returned to their teenager state. And I was a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any moment.
I tried all other avenues before contacting my general practitioner and OB/GYN, and all of them failed. But the problem with trying holistic approaches and being bipolar is that it is hard to truly control the drug interactions properly with the pharmaceuticals and your own biological effects when it comes to your neurological and mental well-being. In other words: we’re not like the rest of the world.
Just because it works for someone without bipolar disorder, does not mean it will work for us. We are wired completely different than the rest of the world. We have a chemical misfiring that makes us different, and if we try something different that is outside of our pharmacological treatment that is precarious already, we could send ourselves down the rabbit hole. And for those of us who are bipolar 1, those rabbit holes are weeks to months long deep.
We just don’t need or want to go there. Which is why I chose to go the HRT route.
It was actually quite amazing really. I saw a difference almost immediately, even though they said it would be weeks or months before I would. My body temperature actually cooled down, although it is still trying to regulate itself, as I’m now dealing with feeling cold all of the time, now. My mood has improved greatly. I no longer look like a teenager, although, the acne is still popping up on occasion, more than it did before, but one or two on occasion is not as bad as it was. I can be in a room with myself again, as my body odor is no longer that of a pre-teen boy, who left his gym socks in a locker for a month. But the best thing is that I’m no longer moody. I can live with myself again.
The only thing I’m dealing with at the moment, and I’ve been told that this will pass, is an excessive appetite. Yeah, I can’t stop eating at the moment. But as I write this, it is starting to wane a bit. Before, I felt like I had to constantly be eating, but now it isn’t constant. Sadly, I gained 14 lbs in two weeks before it started to wane. But I have reached out to my favorite dietitian, and am now working on reversing those side-effects.
So, my friends, if you are finding yourself reaching menopause, and are struggling with bipolar, especially bipolar 1, I highly suggest not being afraid to talk to your doctors about HRT. I’m only on estrogen (estradiol), and it has been a lifesaver for me. Yes, there are side effects, but there are side effects for everything we do take as bipolar patients. But trying to do it on our own is even riskier.